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Thoughts on Fr. Valery Lukianov's Article of March 31, '06

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  • Fr. John R. Shaw
    The website sponsored by the commissions of the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate, in response to complaints that it lacked articles opposing
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2006
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      The website sponsored by the commissions of the Church Abroad and the Moscow
      Patriarchate, in response to complaints that it lacked articles opposing reconciliation
      between ROCOR and the MP, now has added several less positive articles, including one by
      Fr. Valery Lukianov.

      It does not appear that there is an English version of the site yet. Therefore, I am giving
      some Russian excerpts from what Fr. Valery wrote, with my own English renderings, and
      comments.

      I have not reproduced the whole article: it can be seen at the site www. pravos.org

      "? ?????????, ????? ?? ??????????? ?????? ???? ?????? ? ?????????? ????? ? ?
      ???????????, ??????? ???????? ????????? ?? ????????? ???????? ? ?????????
      ?????".

      "Unfortunately, the often unrestrained flow of words tends to alienate people and leads to
      divisions, to draw the faithful of the [Russian] diaspora away from fraternal unity in the
      love of Christ".

      JRS: This certainly is true.

      But whose "flow of words" are we talking about?

      For a long time, there were bitter accusations of "secrecy", because the commissions were
      meeting privately, and not publishing their day-by-day talks.

      The "flow of words" has come, first and foremost, from the Russian newspaper "Nasha
      Strana", which used to be a respected Russian monarchist publication, but in recent years
      has specialized in attacking the leadership of the Church Abroad, and accusing
      Metropolitan Laurus of betraying the Church he leads.

      Then, there is a saying in Russian, "kakov pop, takov prikhod": "as the priest goes, so the
      parish".

      My impression is that, where the parish priests have been hostile to the process of
      reconciliation, their church members have trusted their judgment.

      "??????????? ?? ??????? ?? ?????????????? – ????????? ? ?????????? ??????????
      ?????????".

      "Impressions of the dialogue are not inspiring: with relations being determined slowly and
      painfully".

      JRS: There is an English saying: "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't".

      On the one hand, certain voices, especially among those clergy who do not support
      reconciliation, demanding, "Why the haste?" (even 15 years after the fall of communism in
      Russia).

      On the other hand, Fr. Valery complains that the discussions are "slow and painful".

      "????????? ????????? ????? ?? ? ??, ?????????? ?????-?? ???????? ?????????
      ???, ??? ????? ???????? ????? ?? ?????????????? ????????? ??????????? ? ?? – ???
      ????? ????????".

      "In defining the relations between ROCOR and the MP, beyond doubt, by someone's efforts
      a myth is being created, that part of the flock stands absolutely against accepting unity
      with the MP, under any conditions".

      JRS: Alas, that is no myth.

      The "St. Anthony Society" recently split apart into two factions, one of which, headed by
      George Soldatov, rejects the position of the other, "more moderate" faction, headed by
      Eugene Magerovsky, on the grounds that the moderate faction would accept reconciliation
      with the MP "if certain conditions were met".

      "??????? ??????? ?????? ???? ?????".

      "The Russian Church should be one".

      JRS: Absolutely.

      And I, for one, would like to see that hope realized.

      "???????? ?? ?? ?? ???????? ????? ???????? ???????????? ???????????? ????????,
      ???".

      "Is the MP, in its actions, free of control by the political conjuncture? Obviously not".

      JRS: I do not agree with Fr. Valery about this.

      If one reads the websites of the MP each day, there are frequent struggles with local
      authorities over regaining church buildings for worship.

      Today, there was an article complaining of a new law that would bar the import of
      Moldavian and Georgian wines into Russia. Last week, the Patriarchate complained of
      proposed changes in military draft laws that would discontinue deferments for clergy and
      young fathers of children.

      If some argue that the Church is influenced by President Putin's presidential policies,
      surely any such influence is far less than that exercised by the Russian Emperors.

      "????? ??, ? ???? ????????? ?????????? ??????? ????????????, ??????? ????????
      ??????? ? ??????????? ? ?????????? ???????????????. ??????? ????? ?????????
      ??????? ?????, ????? ?????????? ????????? ??????????? ????? ??????".

      "Again, a long process of rebirth remains, one that would put the Church and state in the
      right mutual relationship. Great labors stand before the Russian people, in order to
      achieve genuine realization of the new hopes".

      JRS: No doubt. But that could take generations, or it may never be achieved. Such things
      do not constitute canonical obstacles for reconciliation in the Church.

      Furthermore, the process of reconciliation in the Church can and should contribute to the
      regeneration of Russia, rather than being something postponed till an indefinite future,
      until such a time as Russia regenerates itself.

      "??????? ????????? ??????, ?? ?? ???????".

      "Of course, a dialogue is needed, but not a monologue".

      JRS: I agree with this. But I note that those who oppose reconciliation, do not seem to want
      to hear the comments of those who support the process.

      I notice that, no matter how simple and straightforward I try to make my own remarks on
      this subject, they draw accusations of "evasiveness"; even specific personal experiences
      are dismissed as "disinformation".

      So it seems that, within ROCOR, what we have is two monologues: a "dialogue of the deaf".

      In Christ
      Fr. John R. Shaw
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